BYOM - Bring Your Old Mail!

Friday, July 27, 2012

I was recently asked to provide a VisNetic MailFlow demonstration, highlighting the benefits it could bring a small online retailer.  The CSM of this retailer was practically "sold" on MailFlow before the GoToMeeting even started. It turns out a friend of his had already recommended MailFlow. 

The manager had several notable requirements;
1. He wanted to efficiently route email to the correct individual or group, and not waste time forwarding emails.
2. A means to confirm every email was getting answered, and when necessary a means to spot-check the correspondence.
3. Teams members needed to be able to collaborate on responses.
4. Quicker response times.
5. Easy to learn interface.

MailFlow was hitting the mark with flying colors until we reached the 6th and final requirement.

6. Must be able to import their existing email into MailFlow.

Problem is MailFlow does not have an email import utility. 

Most MailFlow administrators set a "go-live" date with the understanding from x date forward all correspondence will be retained in MailFlow, anything prior would remain in their old email client.

Bottom Line - if we could find a way to get their old .pst mail into MailFlow we could add their name to the list of MailFlow customers.

We knew we could define a process for getting their mail in, the challenge would be to retain the original received date and sender, as well as attachments.  

We did it - Here's How:

1. We had the Mail Server Admin create a new account called "Import".
2. The VisNetic MailFlow Admin created a new Message Source to collect email from the account.
3. MailFlow then had to be configured to utilize the first inbound message date.  (This is under Administration/General Configuration/Settings/Ticket Settings tab, Ticket List Date.)  

Now we're ready to go to user #1 and setup their email client so MailFlow can collect their mail.

Let's assume the user's email client is "account 1". 

4. The user configures a second account in their email client, this will be the new account.  
5. The user then performs a simple drag & drop of the email from "account 1" into the "import" Inbox of their email client.

The MailFlow Message Source will collect the mail from the import account.  The original sender will be listed as the Contact and the original date the email was received will be retained.

6. The corresponding Agent in MailFlow should then take ownership of all their imported email, set TicketCategories if needed, then Close the Tickets.
7. Delete the import account from the user #1 email client.

Repeat Steps 4-7 for each user's email you wish to import to VisNetic MailFlow.

There you have it - My recomendation would be to test this process on a small scale prior to importing everything you have.

While admittedly not the most elegent of processes, it satisfied the needs of the customer!

Questions? Drop us an email at, or if you would like a quick demonstration of the process.

Uh-oh! Customer service via email is slacking

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Customers often don’t get the answers they’d like from contact centers – and one form of communication is missing the mark half the time. 

On average, retailers answer customer emails completely just 54% of the time, a new study by STELLAService found.

That leaves customers either disappointed and either turning to the phones to get the answers they need or turning away from the company altogether.

Recently STELLAService analysts sent an email a day to 25 premier retailers with simple questions like “I live in an apartment and I always miss my delivery guys when they come. How many times will they attempt? And, “How long do I have to go pick it up at the shipping facility before they send it back?The analysts were looking for complete responses.

If you’re wondering what the difference is between a complete response and an incomplete response, here’s a simple example: You want to know if a retailer has the shoes you see online available in the color red and size six. Your email asks both questions clearly, but the retailer only replies “Yes, they’re available in red,” leaving you wondering whether you’ll fit in the shoes at all. A complete response would also give you the information about sizing that you had asked for.

Fortunately, there are retailers that take the time to address all inquiries in full.

Of the companies included in the study, the bottom performers in answering the message completely sent automatically generated responses that provided a link to their home page. They then suggested looking for the answer in the help index. In all, they provided complete responses less than 20 percent of the time.

“It’s extraordinarily rare that an automated response will solve a customer’s question,” STELLAService Chief Executive Jordy Leiser said. “While it’s a potential cost-saver for retailers, a less than adequate reply puts at risk the lifetime value of a customer.”

Here at Deerfield Communications, developers of VisNetic MailFlow, we could not agree more. Even though it is an oft requested feature (intelligent auto replies) we have steered clear for precisely the same reason - a response based upon what the software "thinks" you're asking versus what a live human believes you are asking, if often night and day.  Instead, we offer customer service agents a customizable Standard Response Library, allowing the agent to choose from a host of appropriate, company prepared replies.  

Customers love the ease and practicality of email, but it is clear from our research that retailers are not being diligent about quality replies,” Leiser said. “In order to meet the needs and expectations of their customers, it’s time for retailers to deliver the same level of quality and speed when communicating with customers via email as they do on the phone.

A few keys to boosting response to email (and potentially curbing some phone demand) from STELLAService:

 » Use templates - If the answers are right, customers won’t mind if they’re not all that personal.

VisNetic MailFlow utilizes templates, known as Standard Responses, allowing Agents to maintain a consistent message across the entire company. Helping Agents to reply quickly with accurately while providing message personalization. 
 » Send an auto-response to all incoming messages, letting customers know when you’ll respond so the wait won’t seem so long.

VisNetic MailFlow can send the appropriate auto reply based upon defined criteria.

 » Link them - If the issue is complicated, and needs more attention, give customers a brief response with a link to get them started and let them know how you are proceeding to get the full answer.

VisNetic MaiFlow provides functionality above and beyond this core requirement.  Reply, leaving the message open, add private notes to alert co-workers you are gathering additional information for the customer, etc. Replicate the message asking the Shipping Department to address the customer's shipping question, while replying to the size and availability question. All the while providing improved email customer service by immediately acknowledging receipt of their email, followed by a personal response answering their questions, and rather than delaying the reply, indication the Shipping Dept will be contacing them directly, etc. 

VisNetic MailFlow will revolutionize the way your organization uses email to provide service and support to your customers. 

MailFlow is Easy to Try & Easy to Buy.  Learn more, Contact us today. 

MailFlow Test Drive

Monday, July 2, 2012

Customer Service Managers - Are you looking for a logical organization of email so the right individuals or groups are receiving the correct messages? Would you like to have a tool that guarantees an increase in productivity while ensuring a prompt response to every email?

Perhaps a solution to collaborate on customer email while reviewing a history of correspondence?  Are you looking for a secure, easy-to-learn solution with notifications, reporting, and more?  Look no further, you've found it, VisNetic MailFlow!

Take VisNetic MailFlow for a Test Drive.

Managers have told us it's often time consuming or difficult trying to get the IT Department to install evaluation software onto one of "their" servers.  We've eliminated the hassle by making an evaluation of MailFlow available on our server!

Evaluate VisNetic MailFlow for FREE on your server or ours for 30 days.

You can Download VisNetic MailFlow from HERE  

Test Drive VisNetic MailFlow on our servers - drop us an email at: demo at